On March 7, 2011, Peter Joyce, Jr. (“Joyce”) filed a complaint with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (“MCAD”), claiming that Respondent CSX Transportation (“CSX”): (1) denied him a reasonable accommodation in the use of a computer device that he had difficulty mastering because he suffers from Attention Deficit Disorder and other cognitive limitations; and (2) he was disciplined and removed from service for an infraction which he claims was related to his disability.  Joyce asserted that the unwarranted discipline caused him great anxiety and distress resulting in his being placed on an occupational disability retirement.  More than five years later, the MCAD held hearings on the claim in September 2016.  Eight months later, Hearing Officer Eugenia Guastaferri issued her decision in which she awarded Joyce $224,070.39 in lost pay and $100,000 in emotional distress damages, both accruing twelve (12%) percent interest from May 7, 2011 until payment.

This case illustrates the difficulties inherent in evaluating the performance of long-term employees with respect to rapidly-changing job requirements due to technological advances – particularly when evaluating reasonable accommodations for claimed disabilities.Continue Reading Running a 21st Century Railroad with 20th Century Job Skills: How to Accommodate Disabilities?